Australian Topographics is a visual representation of the surface features of some regions of Australia, such as Melbourne and Tasmania. The genre of landscape has been very unfashionable across the visual arts for a long time , and it is seen as the preserve of the Sunday painter and the happy tourist snapper. This project can be considered as part of the recent turn to landscape within contemporary art photography in a post-colonial Australia (e.g., Rosemary Laing, Carl Warner, Debra Phillips). It does so without embracing the picturesque style of wilderness photography, which is popular in Tasmania and renders the imaged land as a ‘timeless’ landscape.
Australian Topographics refers back to the New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape, an exhibition that was curated by William Jenkins at the International Museum of Photography at the George Eastman House (Rochester, New York) in January 1975. These pictures focused on the western “expansion” of the US and concentrated on mobile homes, impoverished former boomtowns, lower-middle- class housing tracts, and other signs of the lost American Dream. The exhibition gestured to nineteenth-century topographic photography under the initial exploratory auspices of the U.S. Geological Survey, as well as an acknowledgment of the alteration of that landscape during the intervening century, as depicted by the urban or suburban realities of the post 1945 changes.
Australian topographics is a reference back to this tradition, as well as to an understated Australian one, and is a modest reworking of both. Its focus is historical, a looking back on the recent past.These are often sites of history and memory that are constantly in flux between remembering and forgetting.